Through the Lens of Confused Teacher
Still, our expectations seem to be very high. We want our teachers to be ideal – competent and committed. Quality education is our real concern, and we want our teachers to uphold it. Teachers should be role models so we cannot accept them making mistakes, both big and small.
What we are overlooking always is the causes that totally demoralize our teachers to whom the quality education belongs to. There are many and mostly avoidable grounds that pull down the legs of our teachers.
It is time for us to know that despite many people looking down on the teaching profession, some intentionally join teaching even when many doors are open for them. Also, there are many self-financed students who are paying huge amounts of money to become what most people don’t want to be. But we seem to neglect them, unaware of such cases let alone recognizing and cheering them up. I think it is really demoralizing from the day one itself.
BCSE for teacher graduates was introduced in the recent years. But how many of us know about it? Not many, because RCSC seems to see teacher graduates as less important than other graduates. They conduct exams silently and declare results noiselessly without inviting the media for coverage. Likewise, the media too seems to feel teacher-related news to be trivial. It is quite depressing for the toppers of BCSE-B.Ed. graduates to go unseen and unrecognized. Even more upsetting is to see most overall toppers placed in some difficult places, meaning topping BCSE-B.Ed. is less important than topping in general graduates’ exams.
One common concern that all teachers share is TA/DA. It is quite common for teachers not to get TA/DA after tiring dedicated service. Some officials even explained to teachers that there is no TA/DA allocated for teachers. It is understood that the system does not want teacher movement during the academic session. But why are our teachers assigned works that require teacher movement in the first place? Why is it so that there is no money for genuine TA/DA for teachers when there is much money for table tour for other civil servants? Or else, doesn’t BCSR 2012 apply for teaching profession?
Teacher placement is another concern. Many DEOs seem to feel easy to place fresh teacher-graduates to difficult places. This, I think, will really dampen the enthusiasm of our fresh teachers. More than a personal concern, it is really hampering the quality education. During first few years of profession, rather than placing them in the schools where many senior competent teachers are present to guide them, they are placed in the schools where there is a single teacher or in schools where multi-grade teaching is required. In such a way, the system also contributes in deteriorating quality education, but the blame always goes to our teachers.
Some teachers share their concern of their bosses being harsh. For instance, some principals tell off the teachers openly in front of hundreds of students. Many teachers share their frustration via forums for their DEOs and ADEOs being very rude with them unnecessarily. One time, an official from the headquarters asked one of the teachers insultingly if he knows A for Apple, B for Ball when the conversation over the phone was unclear. The fact is that the poor teacher was calling from one of the far-flung places where phone network is not as good as it is in the town where the official lives. Just imagine the status of our teachers in the eyes of the officials working comfortably on a revolving chair.
The consequence of teachers being looked down upon can be huge. Even the public keep their eyes wide open upon our teachers. A simple mistake that the teachers make is much emphasized, never realizing all the goods done. For instance, today parents question teachers for manhandling their children even for good intention. It seems like people feel proud when they are able to take poor teachers before the higher authorities. Till now, nobody has asked if there are some alternative disciplinary tools that will shape their children. And our media seems to be interested in covering and underlining such negative stories.
Finally, if we are really worried about the deteriorating quality of education and adverse behaviour of our teachers, it is also high time for us to identify the cause. Identifying and understanding the cause itself is not enough. We need to find the solution. We need to attract the best of best people to the teaching profession. And to attract the best people, we need to improve the status of the teaching profession. I wish for the system that will motivate our teachers who are already serving in the field, and inspire the best of the best people to join the teaching profession.
First appeared in Bhutanobserver